Hot Club Sandwich releases "No Pressure" with Special Guest David Grisman!
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No Pressure, the fifth recording from Puget Sound string swing ensemble Hot Club Sandwich, is a special addition to the group’s catalog, featuring a guest appearance from David Grisman. The band spent a few winter days together, improvising a recording studio in old boarding house on the Olympic Peninsula. The occasion yielded fourteen songs recorded fireside, and the room vibe resonates throughout. In addition to playing mandolin on several songs, Dawg offered creative suggestions and helped to craft the arrangements.
Dawg’s composition “Swang Thang” leads off the record with twin mandolins on the melody. The band passes improvisations around the room, with Kevin Connor on Selmer-style guitar, Joseph Mascorella on drums, James Schneider on bass, Matt Sircely on mandolin, and Tim Wetmiller on violin. The second song and title track, “No Pressure”, composed by the band’s seasoned guitarist Ray Wood and his songwriting partner Vann Cantin, sets the scene for a Louisiana back-porch. Ray delivers his delicate, intentional melody on the guitar. Remarkably, after more than 65 years of musical appearances, this is Wood’s first lead vocal performance on record: ‘Got no pressure, I’m where I wanna be’.
The band presents its own interpretations of jazz manouche alongside a bolero romantico, with several swing tunes at dance tempo and vocal contributions from multiple band members. Hoagy Carmichael’s “Rockin’ Chair” precedes a Peruvian waltz from the same era. The cover art was painted by Tracy Grisman, and she also sings the final song, a striking version of “St. James Infirmary”. Also see No Depression's preview of Blackpot Coozie.
Drawing on the Hot Club style of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli, Hot Club Sandwich adds classic Latin American, old-world European and other influences, including a bit of West Coast twang. The fourth release from Seattle-based Hot Club Sandwich begins in Hicksville with a guest vocal performance by Dan Hicks (Charlatans, Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks) on "I Can't Believe that You're in Love with Me." From there, And If Only takes listeners from smokey cafes of Paris to the hipster backstreets of 1930's Harlem, careening along a winding musical road filled with yodeling cowboys, a band of Mexican violinists, and spirited Gypsy jazz guitar slingers. With a hat tip to the city that gave birth to jazz, Hot Club Sandwich offers a fresh treatment of the classic Hoagie Carmichael tune ìNew Orleans.î The Hot Club Sandwich sound blends reverence for traditions with vibrant acoustic interplay, which shines in the group's many original compositions, including "Deja Vu" and the title track, "And If Only."